NEVS are creating new jobs (with Phoenix 1.1)

As you all know, not all parts of the new cars from Trollhättan are being made at the Stallbacka plant. NEVS, and Saab Automobile before them, has a large number of independent parts suppliers. And as NEVS are planning to build new cars, the parts suppliers are now also starting to “gear up” again.

In the former Saab model workshop, Cliff Models, are working with NEVS as one of their largest customers. TTELA recently reported that Cliff Models have purchased a Parpas Diamond 30. This is a state of the art gantry style machining centre, used to produce everything from simple models to more complex solutions with hardened steel.


This Diamond 30 machine is the only one in existence in Sweden today. It’s a big investment for Cliff Models in cooperation with NEVS. Their previous machine could manage at most 5 tonne, while the new machine can manage up to 50 tonne. The work space (where the models/prototypes are made) is 3 x 3 meters and 1,2 meter in height.

Read moreNEVS are creating new jobs (with Phoenix 1.1)

The Phoenix platform is still available to the future owner of Saab

TTELA today brings news on the phoenix platform and its status. Update: I cleaned up the heading a bit to remove ambiguity. My apologies for any confusion caused!

Rough translation:

The Phoenix platform is ready if someone wants it. Many of the brains behind the platform are today employed at Innovatum – the engineers at Lean Nova. Lean Nova is an expanding business employing former Saab engineers who are also advicing the bankruptcy estate on technology.

The 70 employees have on average 15 years of technology expertise and the company is expanding:

– “How many and at what rate is dependent on what happens after the sale of Stallbacka” said Martin Öman, referring to his former workplace, Saab Automobile AB, where he was development manager for the chassis. Today he is lean Nova’s Chief Operating Officer, COO.

– “The rate of growth will probably slow down a bit during the summer”, think Öman.

– “But on the other hand, we employed 70 in three months and we hope to find ten more within one month.”

Lean Nova’s main strength is the ability to create a complete car. The engineers are sourced from virtually all corners of Saab’s technological development domain. In Saabvägen 1 (“Saab Road 1”) skills available for chassis construction are available in the form of technical consultants from Combitech, also former Saab employees. The division is a strategy developed when “Plan B” became reality.

– “The idea that there would be new engineering company in Trollhättan was a bit of an incentive for employees to remain before Saab’s bankruptcy. Plan B was planned in the late autumn, and funding was needed. Saab AB, the defense group that owns the Combitech, needed the knowhow present in the chassis department for their development of airplanes, and Fourier transform was interested in funding a company that took advantage of the skills associated with vehicle development – Lean Nova. In time, we may see a merger of the two, or Combitech becomes subcontractors to Lean Nova in the assignment of vehicle development.”

Lean Nova in a few months gained some heavy names for customers like Volvo Cars, Scania and Jaguar Land Rover – but has also worked for Saab’s bankruptcy estate:

– “We have been helping out with technology issues and presented the Phoenix platform to potential buyers”, says Öman.

– “The platform is absolutely up to date, and is not idly decaying. But how long it takes to completion depends on exactly what a new owner desires. In two or three years, the first car based on the Phoenix platform can be ready, and for new entrants in the automobile industry, it would be a fantastic catch.”

The number of engineering inquiries has declined as the stakeholders come closer to the final phase of negotiations.

– “We understand that it takes time for a buyer – if unable to reach an agreement with GM to sell the current generation products they really have to start from the ground up and break-even is not in the near future,” says Öman.

– “But in the long run, Phoenix offers a huge potential, and the hope is of course an owners with deep pockets, who can afford to let the development finish.”

Friday evening local newspaper snippets

TTela kept themselves busy this week.

They have interviewed Jason Castriota, talked to the supplier’s organization and this morning got a comment from GM.

Saab’s chief designer Jason Castriota says they were busy putting the final touches on the new 900 (née 9-3) when the bankruptcy was declared. “We had put in extra effort to get it ready fast given Saab’s predicament”.

Read moreFriday evening local newspaper snippets

Ny Teknik on building Saabs without GM licenses

Ny Teknik have an interesting article on how Saab could produce cars without being bothered by GM:

GM can not stop Saab, or the person who buys the company from building a new generation cars. All the basic technology is controlled by Saab. Thus opens the way for Chinese Youngman and Pang Da.

The next generation of Saab cars are based on Phoenix, a kind of basic drawing and basic design that can be used for a number of new car models. It is controlled by Saab, unlike today’s cars, which GM owns a large part of the technology.

Read moreNy Teknik on building Saabs without GM licenses

Does Volvo need SPA?

I know some of you will want to kill me, and others won’t talk to me for months, but does Volvo really need to develop its SPA (Scalable Platform Architecture) when something similar is being developed 70 km away?

Volvo’s big cars, the S80 and V70 are based on Fords CD platform, their smaller cars, C30, S40, V50 S60, V60, XC60 are based on Fords C platform. Volvo was in charge of the CD platform, and Ford was in charge of the C platform.

Read moreDoes Volvo need SPA?

What’s Not In The Deal is Important Too

Notice there’s no mention of the new Phoenix architecture in the plan. Also remember that several other companies (Hawtai included) were still interested in using it in their own vehicles and the ensuing clarification that was needed to separate out what IP BAIC owned vs. the new technology.

While this deal with Pang Da is very exciting (and possibly more so) for Saab’s long term prospects in China because it gives them a clearer equity stake in their fate in China than in the Hawtai deal, the Phoenix platform is still worth a lot of money that Saab could use to secure their long term financing. The question is– how much is that worth if it’s competing against Saab’s own joint-venture produced vehicles in China?

I’d argue that for the right company who lacks an adequate rival, it’s pretty huge. It’s clear that Victor’s biggest selling tool though was the Saab name and association, as he revealed to reporters in Washington last week.

“I had a pretty good negotiating position. I positioned what I could sell as a stake in the last premium, independent, European car company. If you do not get this one, you are not going to get a position in Audi. You are not going to get a position in BMW. You are not going to own Mercedes, or maybe they will.

“We had people clamoring at the door. If you don’t get this one, you are done because there won’t be another one.”

That’s as close of an accurate as we can get to what tools Victor actually negotiated with in China this weekend. Hopefully he’s still there negotiating with Hawtai and Youngman (or others) about a potential sale of the Phoenix platform. The research by DI from the weekend that Saab was still in talks with Youngman should not be discounted, there’s a very real possibility that they’re still at work on a deal. Perhaps the “to-be-selected manufacturing partner” who will be assisting in the manufacturing of the MJV will not be so foreign to us after all.

Poll: Auto Express Design Award 2011

Romac sends word that Auto Express in Britain are conducting a poll featuring a dashing young Saab.

The Auto Express Design Award is a special prize given to the most head-turning car of recent months.

Now, far be it from me to skew the poll in any way by letting you know who my favorite is, all I will hint at is that its name starts with “Saa…” and ends with “…iX”.

Happy voting everyone!

PhoeniX on the floor of NYIAS

Hey guys, busy day here hopping from meeting to meeting at work, but I want to keep the steady stream of info pouring out of New York. I have a lot of questions that I’m waiting to hear back answers from execs from, but in the meantime, I took the most comprehensive pictures I could of the PhoeniX of details we care about (under the car especially until I was asked to stop 😉 ). As always, more to come soon.

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